On maybe NOT using “woman/women” with Jax Meyer (plus GIVEAWAY!)

AND THE WINNER IS…CW!

Thank, all, for playing!

 

Greetings, friends! So after my blog last week on using “woman” instead of “girl”, I had a discussion with fellow author Jax Meyer on the Twitterz about that, and Jax brought up a whole other layer that I realized needed to be addressed and I asked Jax if she would be willing to do that. And BOOM, she was.

So without further ado, here’s Jax.

Giveaway: 1 copy of Dal Segno for Kindle (or a pdf copy if the winner doesn’t use kindle format).
Y’all know how this works. Leave a comment below and we’ll hook a winner up next Friday, 21 September by 9 PM EDT US time.

When I read Andi Marquette’s post about the use of girl for grown women, it reminded me of another way in which internalized misogyny shows up in my life, and that’s with the word woman. That word is so loaded with gender expectations that for most of my life I didn’t use the word at all. I preferred the term female, which I now understand many women find dehumanizing.

Personally, I don’t recall hearing the term female much until I joined the Marine Crops. Then I became a female Marine, and I loved how the term female didn’t have the same expectations. Female is biology. I am biologically female, and I am not changing that, though no judgment to those who do. But calling me a woman feminized me in a way that wasn’t me.

You see, I’m obviously butch. I’ve been that way my entire life and feel it describes my gender expression well, though I’ll also use genderqueer and am fond of non-binary. Growing up this way in the 80’s and 90’s, and then serving in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era, the word woman grated on me to the point I didn’t even like to say the word. I had to ask myself why this was. And the answer is simple – internalized misogyny.

Gender roles, which are really what I resisted, are rooted in misogyny. The negativity and outright vitriol directed toward anything feminine has tainted words like woman to the point where I resisted it everywhere.

Strangely enough, one of the things that helped me overcome this and at least become comfortable referring to others as women was giving birth to my daughter. The decision to get pregnant instead of adopt took months of soul searching and research into other butches who have done the same thing. I had to face my fear of backlash and decide to embrace me and my way of being female in a world that isn’t always kind to butches and other masculine of center women.

My daughter is now three-and-a-half. When people ask some variation of how she came into the world, I answer, without hesitation, that I carried her. It always shocks them, which is why I answer the question. Even if I refer to myself as female, the world sees me as a woman. By defying stereotypes it expands the space available for women to exist.

Let’s be honest for a minute. Even within the lesbian and lesfic communities there is backlash towards the masculine of center. I’ve been told that books don’t sell as well with a true butch character. And don’t even try to write a book where two butches fall in love. Why is that? Could there be some internalized misogyny at play as well?

My hope is you read this and consider all the words you use to refer to people. Perhaps you resist referring to people with non-gendered pronouns. Where does that come from? Are you one of those people who doesn’t like to read about butch main characters? If so, I invite you to give my debut novel Dal Segno a try. The stereotype of a butch is often rather different from the reality of the many people living as masculine of center.

In the end, question yourself and your beliefs. We’ve all spent decades absorbing the beliefs of people around us, and even when we know better, some slip through and affect our actions. It’s taken me 40 years to get here, but I hope my journey is beneficial to you. We need to come together, especially in the face of those who wish to take us back to a time where women had no rights.

Jax Meyer is an avid lesfic reader and new author. Her debut novel Dal Segno takes you on a journey of healing and love while enjoying the outdoors of Colorado and jazz music. Hopefully the audiobook will be in production this fall.

FIND JAX:
Website
Facebook
Twitter (@butchjax)
Amazon author page

Find Dal Segno at Amazon.

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47 comments

  1. Another butch here (butch woman, married to an nb butch), and increasingly conscious of pronouns and other ways to talk of people! I’d love to read more butch-on-butch stories.. not because I’m living one, but because we need more variety in our books.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I also look forward to this book and think my butch partner will as well. I try to write butch characters as diverse as the many I have known and loved over my life. I hope reading your book and future works continue to enrich that process! Ona

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love butch on butch books probably because I’m in that type of relationship. But when all is said and done it’s still all about who you fall in love with and how the world see’s that love. Live and love LARGE and read.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My straight cis daughter said to me a few years ago: I hate being a girl. I asked her whether it was because she felt wrong as a girl or she didn’t like the way the world treated girls. It turned out to be the latter. As an adult she presents as androgynous but fully embraces feminine pronouns, although with her generation many use they/their if they don’t know her. We are all such individuals that no one really wears any label the same way. I hope you were able to enjoy your pregnancy- and that people weren’t too judgemental about it. I’ve been on a different end of that- I got pregnant at 19, at an elite college, and chose to have my son because I was still able to finish school and my parents provided. Not conforming to others’ ideas of the label you wear can be difficult, but every time someone does it, it opens the door to making it more possible for others to follow.

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  5. I’m a reader, love stories…..love women! I was thinking… do we really have to put a label on anyone? How about make everyone “person” …. Everyone is different..

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  6. Wow! I’m so looking forward to reading your book. If I don’t win, perhaps we can swap copies of each other’s books to read/review. Mine is titled When Butches Cry and is a historical novel. Best of luck with your debut novel!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s natural, I guess, that we can pack the same meanings into different words. I really don’t know why, but I prefer “woman” (as in woman-see-me-roar) to female, although it’s not a strong preference. Maybe because “female” is so close to “feminine.”

    I tried for years to get my publisher at the time to let me do a butch-on-butch anthology, and only made it half-way. They let me do an anthology with a butch-centered theme, but wouldn’t agree to have it be butch-on-butch. I did slip in three such stories, one of them my own. The worst part was that they assured me that their young staff said that nobody uses the term butch any more, it’s all “boi,” which I know for sure has quite a different meaning. Several different meanings, in fact. I folded, though, when it came to the title, and regret it, not just because the book didn’t sell as well as my others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry they pushed back like that. This is another benefit of self publishing. There’s no one to steer you away from your vision.

      I haven’t heard the term boi in ages, and it was never a universal term. Granted, butch isn’t/wasn’t either, but that was even less common. I like the term Masculine of Center, as it includes all of the different identities across socioeconomic, geographic, and racial groups. But it’s not useful for a book title!

      Perhaps it is time to revisit this idea from a self published approach!

      Like

      • I did put “Masculine of Center’ in my Call for Submissions and my introduction, but of course the title and cover make the immediate impression, and an introduction is no use unless someone opens the book and reads it.

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  8. This was good! I have never thought about these things becauae they do not apply to my life. Furthermore, I have never pictured butches to have babies. The photo is something. The article really lined somethings up as far as the life you all live and how “strange” to others it is and how you all just live it and push through all the labeling and just do you. As a Female we all carry the same gender realities. As women, this is where we differ. Im not sure how to explain it without writing a book of a comment so Ill just say it is interesting to me as I love to understand more about those that are different than me. I Also will say good for you and I think it is fucking awesome you have a daughter naturally and took that adventure within yourself as a woman as a female and as a Butch. As a middle aged woma, I have never experienced the baby stuff. And not sure I ever will.. it has to be great and scary all in one. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. My goal was to show a different side to life as a female, as a woman, and as a butch and make people think a bit.

      I was 36 when I gave birth to my daughter. I breastfed her for just over 3 years. I had to completely own that space. I posted pictures of her breastfeeding as well because no one imagines a butch doing that. But providing for the physical and emotional needs of my child is not inherently feminine and it certainly doesn’t make me less butch. Thankfully I believe a lot of attitudes are shifting and I haven’t received any grief from it.

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      • Any one that would show you any grief for a woman breastfeeding or caring for a child on any level NATURALLY are a part of the programmed colonial society that has reaked havok on all parts of the natural world for more than a melinial. No matter how you wear your hair or fall in love with does not make you less of a woman.. actually i would say it would make you more of.. you are what ya eat.. right hahahah. Any hoo. Thanks for sharing and I hope that the rest of this god forsaken race can get on the human race page and quit trying to justify means by holding down iniquality by some ancient christian based doctrane that was created to justify geonocide. But thats a WHOLE other convo! But it is that deep. Cheers to you and I look forward to reading your book. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post. Personally I don’t care how either character identifies, as long as they are interesting and do interesting things. Curious about the title of your book Jax. Does one of the characters speak Italian, or perhaps is a musician?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this post. We need to move past stereotypes and defy expectations. Growing up in a conservative family where only knee length skirts were allowed, I still can’t wear skirts because of the regression my outward appearance brings back vicerally. I feel that doing so now reinforces my parents world view of women.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great point. Everyone is going to have different experiences and associations, which is why I shared mine. Some people have the exact opposite reaction and feel certain clothes or terminology demeaning to them and their experience as a woman. Strangely enough, I was ok wearing skirts in the Marine Corps because it was a uniform. I didn’t like it, but I dealt with it. And then wore the trousers anytime they didn’t specify skirts. I still have my notebook from boot camp where another butch lesbian and I were discussing feeling like we were in drag. But we were still badass Marines, so that helped.

      What do you think of the movement for men to wear skirts?

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  11. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and congrats on your first novel. This sounds like a great story. I love butch characters but get bored rather quickly with the stereotypical butch/femme story line. So maybe I actually like what you describe as masculine of center with all the variations that can provide. I would love to read your book and wish you great success with it.

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  12. Thank you so much for your service. I served too, in the Army for a number of years, also during the DADT era. Like with male and female Marines, there are male soldiers and female soldiers. Persons in command will say males and females. With individual troops, if a (last) name is not known, are referred to as ‘soldier’, as in “soldier, come over here” or “You three soldiers, pick that up and take it over to the deuce and a half”. It’s an expedient and judicious way of doing things that doesn’t seem to translate to civilian life.

    I write a butch character in my primary series. The love of her life is more femme than butch, but a tomboy type all the way. Lots and lots of readers comment on how much they love the butch character, even in books where she’s not center stage most of the time, her significant other is. I never hear the same sort of love for the more feminine character. It has shown me that there’s an audience out there for the butches in all of our lives. With that in mind, even though the most recent book focuses more on the more feminine character because of the situation she gets into, I made sure to include plenty of story with the butch character.

    We owe it to our readers to give them what they want, as much as is feasible and to let them see as much of the world the way they see it as we can. Femme/femme relationships are no more the norm than butch/femme ones but so much of our literature focuses on only those female pairings. I like a lot of what my readers like, which is why I write the books I do, the way that I do. I’ll keep including butch characters and characters that fall all along the spectrum of she/they/their and she transitioning to he.

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    • Thank you Anne. Your books are on my list to read actually and were mentioned when a group of us MoC folks were discussing butch rep in books. Right now my challenge is having enough time to read since I am writing and beta/development reading for a few other authors.

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    • I hope you enjoy them. It’s interesting to see what characters end up as. In my third book I’m not sure that the character with identify as butch, but certainly have many butch qualities. I’ll see how she develops. 🙂

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  13. Great article and comments! Our younger generation continue to push the boundaries within the LGBTQI community. I’ve had 7th and 8th grade students this year share with me through their letters of introduction that they identify as gay, bi, pansexual, queer, and one trans male! Who knows, perhaps labels and connotations will be replaced with just being known by our given names in the near future???

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    • I think labels are helpful when used in non-judgmental ways. I think if we can casually say, my name is ___ and my pronouns are ___ without anyone blinking an eye that would be great progress. In general I casually mention my wife when talking to people and they don’t say anything negative, and I think we’ll get there with gender as well. Though there are times when I don’t mention the gender of my spouse because it might not be safe to do so, like when I’m driving Uber. But most people at least know to keep their displeasure to themselves.

      Like

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